Country Life

OEFFA recognizes Peach Mountain Organics

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has bestowed its highest honor, the Stewardship Award, to Doug Seibert and Leslie Garcia of Greene County. The announcement was made on Saturday, February 18 as part of OEFFA’s 33rd annual conference, Sowing the Seeds of Our Food Sovereignty. The award recognizes “outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community.”

Doug and Leslie have farmed organically at Peach Mountain Organics since 1992, growing certified organic mixed vegetables, microgreens, fresh-cut flowers, mushrooms, hay, and greenhouse plants. They sell their products at the Yellow Springs Farmers’ Market, local restaurants, and grocery and health food stores.

The Greene County-based Peach Mountain Organics currently has two farm sites and one half-acre greenhouse location in Spring Valley, Ohio. Altogether, the operation is 43 acres, more than 25 of which are certified organic.

“Leslie and Doug’s energy and skill with commercial-scale, organic growing is an inspiration for many of us,” said Steve Edwards, who serves on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees and presented the award at the Saturday

evening ceremony.… Continue reading

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OABA meets with nation's lawmakers

Ohio AgriBusiness Association president and CEO Chris Henney and Board Chairman Herb Mayer joined other state and national organizations in Washington, D.C. for the 2012 State Agribusiness D.C. Fly-In.

Henney and Mayer joined other state and national organizations — including the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), CropLife America (CLA), National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) — in discussions with our nation’s elected leaders.

Henney and Mayer met personally with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, as well as senior majority and minority staff from the Senate Agriculture Committee. While in D.C., Henney and Mayer also participated in the ARA Board Meeting, during which U.S. Rep. Gibbs was awarded the Agricultural Retailers Association Legislator of the Year Award.

“We are really fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with our U.S.… Continue reading

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OABA meets with nation’s lawmakers

Ohio AgriBusiness Association president and CEO Chris Henney and Board Chairman Herb Mayer joined other state and national organizations in Washington, D.C. for the 2012 State Agribusiness D.C. Fly-In.

Henney and Mayer joined other state and national organizations — including the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), CropLife America (CLA), National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) — in discussions with our nation’s elected leaders.

Henney and Mayer met personally with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, as well as senior majority and minority staff from the Senate Agriculture Committee. While in D.C., Henney and Mayer also participated in the ARA Board Meeting, during which U.S. Rep. Gibbs was awarded the Agricultural Retailers Association Legislator of the Year Award.

“We are really fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with our U.S.… Continue reading

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Chapters and members celebrate FFA Week

While this week is a special time for Ohio FFA members to celebrate their involvement in the nation’s largest youth development organization, they spend the rest of the year just as busy. This year marked the highest ever national FFA membership since its founding in 1928, with more than 17 thousand new students joining the organization. This year, Ohio has been led by a dynamic team of state officers, who’ve helped to guide the activities of the state’s 24,000 members. Do you know Ohio’s FFA officer team? Get to know them!

Innovations

Chapters across the state have achieved successes with tried and true, time tested activities as well as new innovations. While many chapters raised funds through traditional citrus fruit sales, the West Holmes FFA and the  Ross FFA/Butler Tech Chapter held strawberry sales this winter.  The Anthony-Wayne Chapter welcomed an exchange student from Australia with a passion for nutrition to the membership this year.… Continue reading

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Horse Sense: Kissing a fool

By: Kim Lemmon, managing editor

 

So if you haven’t figured it out yet, the fool is me!

When I was a riding lesson instructor, keeping my program’s visitors and students safe was my priority. I forced everyone to abide by a long list of rules. I’m sure a lot of folks, including my husband, Mark, thought my rules were a bit restrictive and obsessive but I felt the rules were a necessity.

I was fortunate to have only a few accidents occur during my time as an instructor. We averaged about one fall every other year. No one was seriously hurt thankfully. To me, the lack of serious injuries and infrequency of falls proved my rules were working but something was lacking.

No one broke my rules except Mark. I would occasionally catch Mark hand feeding a treat to the horses and it

actually made me a little sad. I wanted them to be glad to see me, too.… Continue reading

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New Farmland Network site dedicated to farmland market

Farmland Network has announced the debut of its site, http://www.farmlandnetwork.com, designed to provide quality content to those interested in the farmland industry and to help them connect with others sharing a similar interest. For buyers, sellers, operators and service providers in the farmland and agriculture markets, Farmland Network is an easy and fast way to stay ahead of the most current news and farmland opportunities.

The dynamics of farmland ownership continues to evolve at a rapid pace. This shift is being driven by such factors as the current age of landowners and farmers, more landowners living away from the farm, and the continued trend of fewer and larger farming operations. All of these factors are evident in a 2010 USDA study that estimates 70 percent of all farmland will change hands in the next 20 years.

Visit http://www.farmlandnetwork.com for more information on pricing plans, which are available to fit various types of businesses.

Continue reading

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USDA Announces start2farm.gov

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA’s National Agricultural Library, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, announcedStart2farm.gov, a new online portal that helps to provide assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers. The portal includes links to training, financing, technical assistance and other support services specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers as well as successful case studies about new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

“America’s farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation’s economy, producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that continue to help us grow,” said Secretary Vilsack. “USDA is working to provide opportunities for the next generation to get into agriculture in order to continue the record success of America’s farmers and ranchers who are seeing record farm incomes and record exports. Start2Farm.gov will help us protect and sustain these successes, so that we continue to build an agriculture industry diverse and successful enough to attract the smartest, hardest-working young people in the nation.”… Continue reading

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OFBF highlights issues @ the Capitol

By Matt Reese

The Statehouse in Columbus was abuzz as farmers from every corner of the state descended upon Columbus for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) 2012 Ag Day @ the Capitol. Attendees were briefed on the issues, heard from several speakers and met with lawmakers during the busy few hours of what is the OFBF official kick off of the policy year.

“It is a great opportunity for us to educate our members on issues and then they

have an opportunity to share those issues with their legislators,” said Steve Hirsch, OFBF president. “We’ll talk about nutrient management, the elections in 2012, water quality, redistricting, animal care issues, the budget and other issues. We have very few legislators that have a farm background any more. It important for us to educate them about how important agriculture is for the economy of Ohio, what we do as farmers and how we do it.”… Continue reading

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Daniels to serve as new ODA director

Senator David Daniels will be serving as the new director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

“The governor believes that agriculture is the foundation of the state and so do I,” Daniels said. “I pledge to you I will

do my best every day to promote Ohio agriculture. I look forward to being your next Director of Agriculture.”

Gov. John Kasich appointed State Senator Daniels to replace state veterinarian Tony Forshey, the interim director who had filled in since Nov. 15 when Jim Zehringer was appointed the director of the Department of Natural Resources. Daniels is expected to be sworn in and begin his duties as ODA director on Thursday, February 16.

Following four successful terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, Daniels was elected to the Ohio Senate in 2010 to serve the families of the 17th Ohio Senate District, which includes Clinton, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Pike, Ross, Vinton and portions of Lawrence and Pickaway counties.

… Continue reading

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Federal budget proposal generates concerns for agriculture

President Barack Obama recently unveiled his proposed budget for Congress to consider for fiscal year 2013, and it has been getting lackluster reviews from many leaders involved with agriculture. Much of the concern is over the $32 billion reduction in agricultural spending.

“The president’s proposed agriculture budget reduces the deficit by $32 billion over 10 years,” said Steve Wellman,

American Soybean Association (ASA) President. “ASA has advocated, throughout the entire deficit reduction conversation, a shared responsibility for deficit reduction across all mandatory and discretionary spending programs, up to and including the elimination of Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payments as well as the Average Crop Revenue Election program as part of ASA’s 2011 Risk Management for America’s Farmers proposal.

“However, with the enormous amount of risk farmers are about to undertake by planting a new soybean crop, now is exactly the wrong time to reduce support for the federal crop insurance program. The proposal put forth in the president’s budget would reduce support to farmers who purchase the highest levels of coverage — a backwards approach that discourages producers from purchasing enough coverage to meet their substantial risk management needs.”… Continue reading

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RFS challenge loses supporters

Environmental organizations have withdrawn their support of a challenge to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) brought by the National Chicken Council, National Meat Association, and National Turkey Federation.

The development was announced after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments in the lawsuit that challenges a provision in RFS regulations addressing ethanol plants built in 2008 and 2009 and the requirements that they must meet to generate trading credits under the program.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said Friends of the Earth and the National Wildlife Federation decided to drop their claims.

 … Continue reading

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Ohio EPA addressing big issues in ag

A conversation with Scott Nally, director, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

OCJ: What is your experience in agriculture, and what are your general thoughts about Ohio’s agricultural industry?

Scott: My agricultural experience includes management positions with Rose Acre Farms and Perdue Foods. Ohio’s agricultural industry is very healthy, and the intra-agency cooperation has been refreshing.

 

OCJ: What is your experience in environmental management, and what led you to become the director of the Ohio EPA?

Scott: I have more than 20 years of experience in the field of environmental management. My private sector experiences have given me the opportunity to deal with environmental regulatory schemes from many states. Most recently, I was the assistant commissioner in Indiana before becoming director for Ohio EPA.

 

OCJ: Could you please describe the relationship between the Ohio EPA and the U.S. EPA?

Scott: My relationship with U.S. EPA, both nationally and regionally, has been cultivated for many years.… Continue reading

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Protesting prayer a concern at the capitol

By Tim Reeves, the Country Chaplain

The National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. has been held for 60 years, dating back to then President Dwight Eisenhower. This annual breakfast has been held in the nation’s capitol with every president attending each of those years. Additionally, it draws members of Congress, businessmen and women, other government officials, and invited guests from every state, who are chosen annually by an allotment system for each state. In addition to the president as a speaker, it has drawn such noted speakers as Bono and Mother Teresa, along with Christian, Muslim and Jewish speakers.

Organized by the Fellowship Foundation with tickets now costing $650 each, the event is a fund-raiser as well as a time of fellowship and ecumenical gathering.

Apparently, that’s not good enough for some folks, or maybe it’s “too good” for them.

This year’s breakfast earlier this month was marked by protests. Apparently, according to the Americans United For Separation of Church and State organization, the breakfast “violates” the Constitutional admonition that religion and government can’t mingle.… Continue reading

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Surprises in the horse barn aren’t always pleasant

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

At this point in my life, I’m never really very surprised when I find some kind of problem or disaster in the barn. I will admit that I did reach my breaking point last spring, when the barn flooded and my pregnant goats where standing in three inches of water but that was a pretty extreme problem.

Most of the time rotten mini horses, Mike and Ike, create the little surprises I meet randomly during my morning feedings.

I wasn’t really very surprised when I saw Mike and Ike munching on several bales of hay they had managed to pull into their stalls one morning last week. Really it was only a matter of time until it happened.

Last summer, in an effort to cram as much hay into the barn as possible, my husband, Mark, and I filled two of our three horse stalls with hay.… Continue reading

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Surprises in the horse barn aren't always pleasant

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

At this point in my life, I’m never really very surprised when I find some kind of problem or disaster in the barn. I will admit that I did reach my breaking point last spring, when the barn flooded and my pregnant goats where standing in three inches of water but that was a pretty extreme problem.

Most of the time rotten mini horses, Mike and Ike, create the little surprises I meet randomly during my morning feedings.

I wasn’t really very surprised when I saw Mike and Ike munching on several bales of hay they had managed to pull into their stalls one morning last week. Really it was only a matter of time until it happened.

Last summer, in an effort to cram as much hay into the barn as possible, my husband, Mark, and I filled two of our three horse stalls with hay.… Continue reading

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Will ag and trade get burned with EPA's PCB proposal?

By Don “Doc” Sanders

I believe in fair play. When our government gets it right, I speak positively. And when they get it wrong, I don’t mince words. In the latter case, I’m sometimes accused of being a right wing, commie-hating, Archie Bunker-wannabe, redneck zealot.

Before the accusations fly, please hear me out on what I think of the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest take on dioxins — chemical compounds that have polluted the environment.

Without a doubt, pollution has been a problem for health and the environment. But I believe too many Americans become overly paranoid when someone mentions the presence of chemicals in the environment. In many cases, dioxin contamination is not the product of industrial pollution. Dioxins, which result from combustion, are produced every time there is a grass fire, every time lightning strikes, every time a volcano erupts and every time someone burns leaves in his backyard.… Continue reading

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Will ag and trade get burned with EPA’s PCB proposal?

By Don “Doc” Sanders

I believe in fair play. When our government gets it right, I speak positively. And when they get it wrong, I don’t mince words. In the latter case, I’m sometimes accused of being a right wing, commie-hating, Archie Bunker-wannabe, redneck zealot.

Before the accusations fly, please hear me out on what I think of the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest take on dioxins — chemical compounds that have polluted the environment.

Without a doubt, pollution has been a problem for health and the environment. But I believe too many Americans become overly paranoid when someone mentions the presence of chemicals in the environment. In many cases, dioxin contamination is not the product of industrial pollution. Dioxins, which result from combustion, are produced every time there is a grass fire, every time lightning strikes, every time a volcano erupts and every time someone burns leaves in his backyard.… Continue reading

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OFBF grants distributed

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation continues to develop programs helping smaller, community-based groups and has awarded a series of Agricultural Action and Awareness Grants forthe 2012 program year.

The competitively awarded grants support programs and projects focusing on agricultural education and ecological and/or economic development. This year’s grant recipients and projects:
·        Clintonville Farmer’s Market, Connecting Farmers and Emerging Market Customer Population, $2,000; 
·        Community Food Initiatives, Dig in for Health, $2,500; 
·        Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, Conservation From the Ground Up: From Soil to a Healthy Ecosystem, $2,266; 
·        Fairfield Soil and Conservation District, Soil Testing for Fields Receiving Municipal Biosolids and Digester Biosolids, $700; 
·        Ohio State University Scarlet & Gray Ag Day Committee, Agriculture: Superheroes in Our Fields, $3,000; 
·        Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District, Kids Farm Safety Day, $1,100; 
·        Ohio State University Ag Safety and Health, Farm Safety Round Up, $3,000; 
·        Preble County Farm Bureau, Preble County Grow It Know It Expansion Grant, $3,000; 
·        Rural Action, Developing a Local Food, Regional Distribution System, $3,000; 
·        Seneca Soil and Water Conservation District, Agriculture Technology for Youth by Soil and Water, $3,000; 
·        Southeastern Correctional Institution, The Green Zone Community Garden, $2,966; 
·        Stratford Ecological Center, Stratford’s Children’s Program, $3,000.Continue reading

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Understanding new meat labels

By Jo Ellen Helmlinger

More than 20 years after the first nutrition labels were required on most grocery products, fresh meat will join the group. The final rule from USDA that was so long in coming goes into effect in March, and requires nutrition labeling of the major cuts of single-ingredient raw meat and poultry products either on the label or at the point of purchase using signs or brochures. In addition, ground or chopped meat and poultry products must have labels on the packages.

Understanding the labels

Labeling meat with nutrition information is challenging because the amount of fat and nutrients can vary depending on the grade of the meat, how it is trimmed, the breed of the animal and other factors. The information on the label reflects the percentage of grades from choice through select, with a 1/8-inch trim of fat, available at most supermarkets.

Also, the nutrition numbers are based on 3-ounce portions of cooked meat even though you usually buy meat raw.… Continue reading

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New Ohio AgrAbility resources

Farmers, growers and any agriculture workers dealing with a disabling condition can find tips on how to cope with their condition while continuing to farm thanks to 15 new fact sheets from the Ohio State University Extension’s Ohio AgrAbility Program.

The fact sheets are designed to provide useful information and resources to any farmer or agricultural worker who has a disability, injury or illness, said Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbility program coordinator.

“Much of the focus of this series of fact sheets is on helping farmers prevent injuries, including secondary injury, and how to manage serious conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson’s disease while being able to continue daily farm activities,” he said.

The fact sheets also seek to provide farmers with tips on how to use assistive technology to be able to remain productive on their farms and can be useful to any grower or producer, McGuire said.

“They provide useful information on health and various strategies that can be used to help with a particular issue in farming,” he said.… Continue reading

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